Friday, November 21, 2008

You only turn 23... twice?

Yi-sip saam

It was an abnormal birthday.  My first "summer" birthday felt much different than the normal autumn, verging on winter day that I am used to.  As a child I used to dream of pool parties or birthdays at the "Crooked House" at the local Zoo in Lincoln, alas... the "Crooked House" was not open in winter, and no outdoor swimming pool was either!

This year was different.  I slept with AC on, I wore shorts, I even wore a sleeveless dress... Toto, I am not in Nebraska.

I would like to make a disclaimer about the attire that evening.  We decided to dress up (because otherwise we not be allowed into one of restaurants) and also because of the Princess.  Last year the Princess of Thailand passed away and the faithful Thai's wore black (for 100 days) to mourn her death.  So the 14th, 15th, and 16th the funeral and cremation was taking place--- and yes, again black was the required attire.  However, it made everyone look classy for my celebration, as well as matching....

Renee, Dollie, Annet, Me, Bekah, & Daniel ontop of the Banyon Tree Hotel!

Aliens? I hope not.  Here Geneva, Annet, & I at dinner: a rooftop deck at centralworld (my favorite shopping center).  
The evening was beautiful: gorgeous eateries with breathtaking view... Again I was reminded of the magnitude of Bangkok, 15 million people... much more than 15 million lights shining up at me.  

Turning twenty-three was a wonderful experience.  Before moving to Thailand I thought of '23' as a number with zero significance, just another year.  Now I beg to differ.  My friends that evening who were revisiting 23, shared how significant that year was to them.  My birthday celebration was significant to me as well.  My friends here took such good care of me, treating me to dinner, surprising me with coffee the next morning (a secret that always wins my heart!), and teaching me that '23' is not just another number... it is a year that will mold my life for the years to come.  I already have spent the whole of my 23 (to date) in Thailand... which in itself is pretty significant.  

Will I get another chance at 23?  If not, I better make this year one for the history books.  So 'Sawasdee Ka', 'Bonjor', 'Hola', and 'Hello' 23, it feels good to be here.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do dreams come true in DreamWorld?

1.a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep.
2.the sleeping state in which this occurs.

Depends on what your dreams are.  

If you are dreaming of snow in Thailand, then... yes, they do come true!

Wan ahtit seong leow, (Two Sundays ago) fellow teachers and I travelled to another land in which snow was man-made and freezing.  Snow Town, DreamWorld. 

We also went to the Giant house, where everything was bigger than us!  Finally, things were too small for us in Asia!  

5.a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake; daydream; reverie. aspiration; goal; aim: A trip to Europe is his dream.
7.a wild or vain fancy.
8.something of an unreal beauty, charm, or excellence.

Rao Bpaai Loi Kratong Laeo? Ka!

Koop Kheun Ka Phra Mae Khongkha, the Goddess of Water for such a beautiful holiday.  Every year Thailand celebrates the festival, "Loi Kratong" in appreciation of the Goddess of Water.  "Loi" means "to float" and "kratong" is a raft/boat made out of banana leaves and adorned with flowers, candles, and incense.  

In order to honor the Goddess, thank her for prosperity, and perhaps making a new wish, you light the candles and the incense and let the "kratong" "loi" in the water.  Some people put their Kratongs in rivers, others in large ponds or fountains.  

This tradition can be celebrated as a couple or as a family/friends.  If two lovers go together, they set their "kratongs" (boats) in the water together and at the same time.  If their kratongs float together then they are meant to be; however if their kratongs drift apart then then they it means their relationship will eventually end.
My students were excited about this holiday and kept asking me, "M'am, are you going to the klong with your boyfriend?"  (klong= river).  To which I would laugh and say "No, I do not have a boyfriend--"  "Oh, well it's ok M'am, you can find one there!"  

So yes, I lit my candle, and my incense, --- and I even made a wish as I set my kratong in the fountain/pond at Queen's Park (Suan Ben) and I enjoyed partaking in such a beautiful holiday with my new friends... watching the kratongs light up the dark evening sky.